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Another type of allium, chives are very easy to start from seed and are very hardy. Clusters of chives grow tiny bulbs which you can divide and transplant year after year. In more northern climates, consider keeping your chives in a container in order to bring them in over the winter. Chives are easy to start from seed, but unless you’re going to grow them indoors all winter, you’ll need to wait until spring to start them outside. Chives can be started indoors in a tray 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost date, or they can be started now, and transplanted outside in spring. If starting indoors, seeds should be shallowly buried about 1/4” and 3-5” apart in your seed tray. Place your seeds in a cool, dark area (60-70oF) until the seeds sprout, then move the tray under a grow light that can be adjusted up as the seeds grow. At 6” tall, the chives can be transplanted to larger pots, or in spring can be moved outdoors. Chives prefer 6-8 hours of direct sun or a grow light if kept indoors. Outdoors, chives need good drainage and fertile soil. Adding nitrogen will help foliage bounce back after harvesting.
You can harvest up to half the plant without doing major damage, so cut whatever is needed and allow the plant to grow back between cuttings.
Chives and other allium make beautiful balls of small flowers that attract all sorts of beneficial pollinators. Consider planting chives in more than just your herb garden!
At the end of the season, if your chives are in containers, you can bring them indoors. In northern areas, chives will die back to the ground. With enough mulch, they may survive, but a hard ground freeze may kill the tiny bulbs. In southern areas, chives may easily survive for years. Chives grown in containers can produce year round in any climate!